Four-time Formula 1 champion Sebastian Vettel has largely laid low since retiring at the end of 2022. Now, the rumor mills are churning with reports that he could soon be back behind the wheel in an entirely different series.
As covered by Motorsport.com, Vettel has held discussions with the Jota Sport team regarding a drive in the World Endurance Championship for the 2024 season. Team principal Sam Hignett, who we recently interviewed at the debut of its Porsche 963 at Spa—confirmed that Vettel has been approached to race for the team in the Hypercar class.
Jota Porsche is expanding to run a second Porsche 963 LMDh prototype next year, creating a need for new driving talent. The second car will be funded by Hertz and wear the company's gold livery as per the team's existing Porsche 963 entry this year. The team's official name in the top endurance competition is Hertz Team JOTA.
Vettel's next moves have been the subject of plenty of speculation of late. Earlier this month, the German driver poured fuel on rumors of a potential F1 comeback, refusing to rule out the possibility in a recent interview with Martin Brundle.
Negotiations with Vettel remain at an early stage, with the WEC seat and a Le Mans 24 Hours drive on the table. “We are speaking to Seb, there are discussions, but nothing is done,” said Hignett. “There isn’t any kind of contract signed and he certainly hasn’t tested one of our cars.” The team's focus on sustainability could be a factor in wooing Vettel, too, with Hignett comparing the team's use of solar power at Le Mans to Vettel's recent bee hotel project at Suzuka.
The team has the luxury of being choosy about its driver lineup, though, and has stated it won't need to lean on self-funded drivers to pad the budget. Beyond Vettel, the team is also considering other names from F1, including former World Champion Jenson Button and ex-Renault driver Robert Kubica.
Jota will be hoping that quality driving talent will bring it glory in the Hypercar competition. The team has tasted success in the past, with three LMP2 class wins scored at the Le Mans 24 Hour. It could be especially well-placed to take home trophies if it gets Vettel behind the wheel.
Got a tip? Let the author know: email@example.com